“The U.S. will begin direct action on the ground,” said Ashton Carter, US Defense Secretary, testifying before the Senate Armed Services committee.

“We won't hold back from supporting capable partners in opportunistic attacks against ISIL, or conducting such missions directly whether by strikes from the air or direct action on the ground,” he said.

According to Carter, the U.S. will step up its operations against the Islamic State by focusing on the Raqaa, the Islamic State’s stronghold, and the town of Ramadi, an administrative capital of the province of Anbar.

Carter also acknowledged that the US failed at fashioning moderate Syrian rebel groups into a new Syrian Army, but it is going to continue to support the trusted leaders of anti-ISIS rebel groupings by supplying them with weapons and providing air support.

In September 2014, when the US were only beginning to launch airstrikes on ISIS-held positions, the US Administration emphasized that the operation in Syria would only be limited to airstrikes.